BA Production Arts – Costume

Costume Pathway

Costume students at Guildhall School gain a broad-based understanding of all aspects of the costume industry. This unique pathway will enable you to follow the costume process from design to realisation, explore the work of designing, supervising, making and dressing, and develop your own particular journey in the wider field of Costume.

As a Costume student, you will:

  • Explore a broad range of relevant skills including costume design, construction, alterations, dyeing, ageing and distressing; fabric sampling, styling; costume fittings, dressing, and running wardrobe; costume sourcing, hiring and buying; costing, budgeting and administration
  • Work alongside professional costume designers and supervisors, and learn costume craft on fully staged projects and productions
  • Undertake a Costume for Design Project
  • Have the opportunity to enhance areas of costume practice on placements, making projects and realised productions
  • Research the history and culture of fashion
  • Focus on practice for costume industry employment

Studying on this programme you will learn a broad range of skills including:

  • Pattern cutting & making
  • Dyeing and breaking down techniques
  • Fabric sampling
  • Bone bodice making
  • Alteration and embellishment skills
  • History of fashion
  • Styling
  • Costume sourcing, hiring and buying
  • Wardrobe for performance
  • The effect of lighting on costume
  • Costume fittings
  • Costume design
  • Understanding costing and budgeting

Costume students work on a variety of different productions, events and digital projects.

Pathway Structure

Year One

The first year involves Practical and Design based skills and projects. You will also work on one production as a costume assistant / trainee.

Along with all other students in the programme, the Costume students take classes in a broad range of core subjects. These include: History of Theatre, Critical Lens, Contemporary Theatre, Health & Safety and Stagecraft & Production Process. 

Classes are usually project based and wherever possible have a hands-on, practical approach. For example, when studying trends in Critical Lens you will engage with international productions, exhibitions and interdisciplinary projects.

Associated Studies

In the first year you will also take a core module called Associated Studies, which allows you to take three short courses in other areas of Production Arts such as Stage Management, Prop Making, Lighting, Sound, Video, or Scenic Art.

Year Two

The study on the second year of your costume course is entirely practical. You will undertake a number of practical Costume roles on Productions. You will also undertake a Costume for Performance, Design and Construction project. You will undertake the role of Costume Assistant and may have the opportunity to work with the Wig & Make-Up Mistress on some productions.

You will also have the opportunity to spend time working in one of the areas you studied in Year One Associated Studies.

Year Three

Third-year students will take on the Head of Department roles in Costume. You will lead teams of first and second year students and take responsibility for productions from the initial planning stage through to the final performance. Students have the opportunity to undertake Costume Design roles and work with a wide range of professional practitioners.

You will undertake a four-week professional work placement within the theatre, film or TV industry.

You will complete a Graduation Project which is an independent project of your choice and could embrace Costume Making or the opportunity to Costume Design a small scale production at Guildhall.

Costume students checking actor costumes

Graduates in the Industry

Recent Work Placements

Recent work placements undertaken by Costume students include: 

  • The Crown and Downton Abbey
  • The New Bridge Theatre
  • Marley, the Musical

Future Careers

Potential careers for Costume students include: 

  • Designer
  • Supervisor
  • Dresser
  • Fitter
  • Stand-by
  • Running wardrobe
  • Co-ordinator
  • Textile artist
  • Buyer
  • Maker
  • Cutter

Read about career possibilities after graduation.

Meet recent Costume graduate Alice Dearman

Read our interview with BA Production Arts (Costume) graduate Alice Dearman as she talks about her time at Guildhall and her experience of working on The Crown in her professional work placement, which she talks about in the video below.

Video progress

Our costume facilities

Students use the School’s on-site theatres, rehearsal rooms, workshops and costume department, including our costume workshop and dye room, to collaborate on major productions and a range of smaller projects and events.